August 31, 2018; by Briana McDonald- Silver Bulletin (UtopiaSilver.com) At normal levels, cholesterol plays an essential role in the human body. It is both good and bad, however, if concentrations get thrown off balance and becomes too high, it could put people at risk for life threatening conditions such as a heart attack. If you diet hasn’t been exactly as it ought to be or what you have aimed for, you’ll be happy to know I put together a list of the top foods that help reduce damaging cholesterol and plaque buildup for you so you can know where to begin. Just keep in mind that cholesterol is not always a killer; your body and your brain need it to be healthy.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is found in every cell of the human body and has performs vital functions like properly breaking down food, producing hormones, and creating vitamin D. Although it is manufactured by the body it can also be ingested with food. There are two types: LDL (low density lipoproteins “bad”) and HDL (high density lipoproteins, “good”) (1)
Cholesterol itself wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous without inflammation. Inflammation is the primary cause of the hardening and stiffening of arteries that comes with plaque deposits and in turn produces for inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of many diseases and heart disease is no exception.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
Chest pain: If the arteries that supply your heart with blood are affected you may have chest pain and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
Heart Attack: If plaques tear or rupture, a blood clot may form at the rupture site thus blocking the flow of blood or breaking free and plugging an artery downstream. If the blood flow to your heart stops, you will have a heart attack.
Stroke: Similar to a heart attack, if blood flow to part of your brain is blocked by a blood clot you will suffer a stroke.
Causes of High Cholesterol
There are several factors that contribute to High Cholesterol.
- Poor Diet – consuming saturated fat found in animal products and trans fats found in processed foods, can raise your cholesterol levels.
- Obesity – Having a BMI of 30 or greater puts you at risk for high cholesterol
- Smoking – smoking cigarettes damages the walls of your blood vessels making the likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking can also lower your good cholesterol or HDL.
- Diabetes – having high blood sugar contributes to higher LDL and lower HDL. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries. (2)
Where Do I Begin?
Swap Out Fats:
In place of saturated fats, consume monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Swap Out Meats:
Instead of over-consuming dark red meats, opt for lean meats more often like pasture raised poultry, fish and other seafood, beans and eggs.